English 1101: English Composition I
Office: Arts and Letters (SOAL) 239
As described in the MGA Catalog, English 1101 is "a composition course focusing on skills required for effective writing in a variety of contexts, with emphasis on exposition, analysis, and argumentation, and also including introductory use of a variety of research skills."
Our fundamental aim is improving your ability to read and think critically and to write effective essays. This course will develop your skill building effective analytical and argumentative essays so that by semester's end, and hopefully much sooner, you will be crafting well-structured compositions that are unified, developed, coherent, and sound in substance and in grammar and mechanics. Whatever your present abilities, this course will improve your writing and equip you with the essentials for more advanced college writing.
Required Texts and Materials
The Little, Brown Reader, 12th edition (2012), by Marcia Stubbs, ISBN 978-0-205-02862-7
The Little Seagull Handbook, 4th edition, digital version with Exercises and InQuizitive, by Richard Bullock, Michael Brody, and Francine Weinberg (available in D2L)
"Handouts" from my website (www.chipspage.com).
Attendance: Each class is important, so it is crucial that you be in class on time every class. I record attendance, and absences do affect your grade. Students with more than four non-illness-related absences fail the class. Students who must miss class because of illness (COVID or otherwise) should notify me before the missed class meeting. I will try to work with you on any major assignments you happen to miss (assignments other than reading quizzes), especially when you notify me of the absence missing class: email me whenever you must miss class.
Late work: Late work receives a letter-grade penalty for each class day (i.e. Monday or Wednesday) the assignment is late.
Minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in all five essays (four papers and an in-class essay) and all sets of corrections and take the final exam.
Plagiarism: Except for assignments expressly calling for collaborative effort, all written work must be your own. Any unacknowledged borrowing from the writings of others will be considered plagiarism, a serious breach of academic integrity. I will submit cases of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty for review by the Student Conduct Officer. The penalty for plagiarism in this class is an "F" for the entire course, not just the assignment in question. See the more specific definition of plagiarism in the English 1101 Syllabus Supplement; also see "On Plagiarism."Cell phones/personal electronics: The use of cell phones and other hand-held personal electronic devices is forbidden in the classroom. All such devices must be kept out of sight for the duration of class—off of desks and out of laps. I will count absent any student texting or viewing a personal electronic device, and if the problem persists I will ask students not abiding by this policy to leave the classroom.
Class discussion: Most class periods will involve open discussion of the reading assignments with little lecture, so your participation in discussion is essential. I will call on reticent or "quiet" students. To participate, obviously you must be present in class; to score higher than B- in participation you will need to contribute in discussion spontaneously and appropriately several times each class meeting, as well as being fully engaged in all other course activities, including online assignments work outside of class.
Reading quizzes: unannounced quizzes testing your close attention to the readings.
Writing exercises: written assignments, usually brief and sometimes collaborative, that vary as need arises.
The in-class essay is like an essay exam, but here your work is evaluated for structural, grammatical, and stylistic quality as well as content.
Formal papers: the guts of the courseformal papers present carefully structured and polished argumentation or analysis of issues arising from the readings and discussion. I will post detailed options and instructions for all four papers on the web.
Peer responses involve close reading of classmates' essays and guided written criticism and advice on how to improve them.
Corrections: After I grade and hand back each essay, you will hand in corrected drafts with all changes indicated in bold type or highlighted. For specifics, see corrections instructions.
Grammar and mechanics quizzes and exams: on basic matters of grammar, convention, diction, and mechanics following discussion of my "Golden Rules," "Nuggets," "Word Problems," and "Quotations" web pages. Golden Rules are important rules of grammar and style. The Nuggets cover a variety of conventions, especially in the handling of quotations. A number of common problems in diction are described in Word Problems. The Quotations page presents basics of MLA-style citation and documentation of sources. The Writing Matters Test, near the end of the term, covers all four of these web pages comprehensively.
Conferences: I strongly recommend one-on-one conferences at any stage of the paper-writing processexploring topics, drafting, revising, editing, or rewriting. My typical aim in conferences is to head off potential problems in your papers and to offer helpful, critical response to your work before you submit it for grading. As an alternative to in-person conferences in my office, I am happy to meet with you virtually through MS Teams or Zoom.
Final exam: an essay on specific readings from the end of the semester.Paper "rewrites": You may rewrite and resubmit graded formal papers (the four out-of-class essays) for re-grading. Rewrite grades replace original grades completely. Note that rewriting involves far more substantial revision than correcting grammatical errors: rewrites should also address larger problems in focus, structure, content, and style. The starting point for revision is my typed comments on your graded papers; rewrites should also address comments and questions written in the margins of the original graded papers.
Final grade breakdown
English Department "D" average stipulation: If you have a "D" average or lower on the major assignments, no participation or daily grade average (reading quizzes, e.g.) can bring the overall average up to a C.
Keeping up with grades: You should check your grades periodically in Brightspace (D2L). Let me know if you have concerns about your class average or grades on specific assignments before you consider withdrawing from the course.
A note on note-taking: Although this course involves little lecture and we do not have unit tests on the readings and discussions, you will have a much easier time writing effective paperspapers that receive higher gradesif you take notes during every class period. "A" students typically take extensive notes. Even in discussions where your classmates do more "discussing" than the professor, you should take notes on any significant points made by anyone in the discussion. You would also do well to underline, highlight, or otherwise make note of all passages from the readings that we take special notice of in class.
The Bottom Line:I hope every member of this class gets an A, and I will do all I can to make this happen. Don't get me wrongthe standards for "A" work are high, and I make no exceptions in course policies on absences, missed assignments, plagiarism, or late work. The number-one key to succeeding in this class is that you take responsibility for your own success, meaning that you attend to all assignments with careful, earnest diligence, that you respond positively to any setbacks and heed my feedback on all assignments, and that you seek my help as much and as often as you need it. I guarantee you have one of the most accessible professors at Middle Georgia State: ask for help outside of class, and I'll do my level best to deliver.